I nearly forgot to announce the winner of my first giveaway!  By the extremely scientific method of "John pick a number between one and thirteen," and after first announcing "one hundred forty-six," the PCP picked comment number FOUR!

Congrats Mama Bug!  You have won  a signed copy of Clay Rice's children's book The Lonely Shadow!!!  
Send me your address to peachstatebelle@yahoo.com and your book will be on it's merry way lickety split!!


Memorial Day

Like many others, we spent our long first weekend of summer soaking up the sun while enjoying the company of friends and family.

We kicked off the pool season with an ice cream social Thursday afternoon.  On Friday, Honey picked the PCP up early from his last day of preschool (boo-hoo) for a father-son round of golf before spending another evening at the pool in our usual summer Friday night fashion - dollar beers, quarter wings, live music and loads of friends and littles.  After all that fun, I just couldn't pretend for one more minute that I didn't have a summer time sore throat and cold.  So Honey entertained the boys for a day while I pathetically laid on the sofa, coughing, sucking on Halls and finishing up seasons of GLEE and One Tree Hill (I know... I am the last person on earth still watching this show) on my DVR.  Feeling more like my normal self, in the last day and a half of our three day weekend, I squeezed in a delectable lunch of shrimp and grits at Empire State South with calliespondence and the Buncolator ladies (who knew this little blog would bring me three perfectly fabulous new friends?!?!), attended a darling firetruck birthday party for big sis H's last born, spent an evening cooking out and catching up with bestie E, Frenchie and friends AND sent one bazillion kisses to sweet baby Bird on his second birthday!

And we rounded out the festivities with a fantastic day at the lake with new neighbor A and her lovely family.  With five little boys to entertain, we fished, swam, boated, grilled, margartia-ed and just had an undeniably great time!
Now it's back to the loads (and loads and loads) of laundry and piles (and piles and piles) of ironing that I've been neglecting while living it up with family.  I'd say it was well worth it.




Poor is the Nation that has no heroes, 
but beggared is the Nation that has and forgets them. 
- author unknown

Today, and every day, I am thankful for the brave men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our great Nation.  God bless the U.S.A.

Happy Memorial Day, y'all!

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army


Men In Tight Pants

I am going to be quite crass for a moment and say that I knew Honey by his arse long before I knew him by his handsome face.  You see, playing catcher for Georgia Tech, his face was nearly always covered by such a substantial mask that I had no idea what drool-worthy features were hiding beneath.  I have no earthly idea why I'm revealing this to the blogosphere, when I simply intended to tell of our annual family outing to good old Russ Chandler stadium for a college ball game... so back to the task at hand...

After our supper at The Varsity we scooted over to Tech to catch their last regular season game of the year.

Much to my dismay and utter anxiety, John now makes it his mission at any and all games where he is in the stands to procure a game ball by any means possible.  Which means I usually end up sitting helpless and exposed in the danger zone of waaaaay too many foul balls.  This, while ninety-nine percent of my friends spent their night at ballet recital dress rehearsals, is how I spend my time :-) 
Honey parked our brood right on the front row of the third base foul line, and with gloves in hand, the littles and Honey alike made a valiant effort to secure said ball.  As luck would have it, a kind player deposited one right in the PCP's glove AND gave a high five to boot.  You'd have thought he'd died and gone to heaven.
Totally and completely put out that brother got a ball, Cookie exerted all of his two year old tantrum-esque will power to try and attract the attention of another player with a second ball.  And, after having to hop the fence the first time to retrieve Cookie's glove and then a second time to retrieve Cookie himself, Honey smartly moved us up a few rows before the powers that be smartly gave us the boot all together.  A kind fan had a spare ball in their bag (which I will TOTALLY do next time) and sweetly gave it to the baby.  Likely in order to restore some peace to our section of the stadium, but a generous deed nonetheless.
While the Jackets unexpectedly fell to ETSU, it didn't put the slightest of a damper on our family fun (well, maybe a teensy tiny damper on Honey's family fun.)  And I wouldn't trade all the peanuts and Cracker Jacks in the world for a hair net and tutu (promise, I wouldn't!)
See you next year, men in tight pants.



World's Largest Drive-In

Opened in 1928 and known as the world's largest drive-in, The Varsity is nothing short of an Atlanta institution.  You simply cannot call yourself a true Atlantan, much less a true Southerner until you've savored the dogs, rings, strings and F.O. of the famed North Avenue establishment.
Just across the street from Georgia Tech, our old college stomping ground, Honey and I both have fond V memories that we love to rehash over and again for the littles that just couldn't give a darned.  A whole gaggle of my sorority sisters used to pile up in P's old pick-up truck and hit the car hop line for greasy late night meals and loads of girly gossip.  And at Honey's fraternity, Monday nights were Varsity nights.  They dutifully sent their pledges to the V, laden with a brotherhood full of orders, to procure Monday Night Football watching eats for the house.  It was expected that the pledges "borrow" a large bottle of ketchup and distribute the food wearing the famed Varsity hats.  After college and before littles, Sister and I used to take one nostalgic lunch a year at the drive-in, and Honey and I would join thirty-thousand of our closest friends for a Southern fried game day meal.  We're such fans, in fact, that for Honey's thirtieth birthday bash I had the catering truck dish up their delish eats right in our front yard! 
Honey serving rings on this 30th birthday
These days, once a year and usually around the holidays, our extended family makes the pilgrimage downtown to relish in a meal that can be described as nothing short of heaven-fried goodness.  The minute you walk through the front door you're greeted with a crowd of noise and a chorus of "What'll ya have? What'll ya have?"  We pick a line and wait our turn to belly up to the counter where we order like old pros.  Y'all see, it's much more authentic to order using the insider lingo than off the menu board.  The littles favor "naked dogs" (plain in a bun), the men generally go for the "heavy weight" (dog with extra chili), and I am partial to the "slaw dog" (dog with coleslaw.)  We divvy up sides of rings (onion rings) and strings (french fries) and wash it all down with Coca-Colas and F.O.s (frozen orange drink).  Deeeeelish!
Last year's holiday pilgrimage
Last week we made our second traditional annual trip down to The Varsity for supper before catching a Tech baseball game.
Bustling with activity and like no other place on Earth, the littles have already come to love this special treat and welcome tradition as much as their parents.

We kicked off our Memorial Day weekend with an ice cream social at the pool last night.  And that's exactly where we're headed in a few short hours...



Silhouettes and a Giveaway!

It's no secret that I adore silhouettes.  Soooo, I just had to share that Clay Rice, a renowned so-Southern silhouette artist and second generation master of his trade, will be in Atlanta cutting these delightful little memoirs in just a couple of weeks!

Mr. Rice will be at Limetree in Vinings (Atlanta) June 8 - 9 with black paper and surgical scissors in hand.  To book an appointment, call the store at 678-213-5463.  The fee is $40 for two copies and it just takes a few minutes.  Call quickly (trust me) because appointments book fast!

My own collection of silhouettes graces my family room wall - the top three are the PCP, Cookie and Bird (all Clay Rice pieces) and the bottom two are myself and Sister as children.
And, with the help of Mother, I even turned the little's likenesses into pillows!  What would I do without her?!? (more on the pillows here)
Last but not least, this brings me to my INAUGURAL blog giveaway - a signed copy of Clay Rice's children's book The Lonely Shadow!!!  This delightful little book tells the tale of a lonely boy shadow searching for a playmate.  To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below with your favorite summer read.  To double your chances, become a follower of my blog and leave a second comment letting me know that you follow!  Please note, the book below was personalized for Cookie.  The book I am giving away does not have a silhouette or a name - it is simply signed by Clay Rice :-)  I will randomly pick a winner Sunday night!!
Oh, and to triple the fun, hop on over to friend calliespondence's blog, follow her and comment there for a sweet note card giveaway!!  Her wares are simply DIVINE!!!



Fins Up

We joined throngs of Atlanta parrotheads for our lost-track-of-how-many annual excursions to the Jimmy Buffett concert yesterday.

In true Buffett fashion and with the top down on the Jeep, we hit the parking lot hours before the the concert kicked off for a festive, margarita-fied tailgate.
Zac Brown?  Or a spot on doppleganger?
Skinny Girl + Fat Boy Margaritas
And around dusk it was time to gather up our blankets and hit the famed lawn at Lakewood to listen to beach music with our shoes off, beers in hand, beach balls a-flyin' and Southern stars over head.
Fins up, y'all!


Basement Buffet

Slowly but surely we are wrapping up our year long endeavor of designing and finishing our basement, from the rooter to the tooter, all by ourselves!  Once again, I'll reference our vision and goals for the space...we wanted an area set aside for food and drinks when entertaining and an area for dining, crafting, school work, game playing, etc.  And that's the piece of the puzzle we just finished up! 
I'll remind y'all that this was a pretty heinous place before our gut and re-do.  In addition to the walls, floors and ceilings that Honey put up throughout the basement, he also added a french door in this part of the room to provide MUCH needed natural light!  
The nice long table has already started to serve it's purpose for painting, crafting and game playing. 
Honey installed the wall of cabinets below to give us a place for dishes when entertaining, storage for toys and games below, a beverage center and a microwave.
Here's the scoop on the details:
- Board and batten walls painted in Benjamin Moore's Snow on the Mountain
- Pendant lights custom ordered through G. Scott Interiors (formerly known as both Patina Home Furnishings and Love Street Home). 

- Unfinished, pre-assembled cabinets purchased from Home Depot and painted in Benjamin Moore Fieldstone.  Hardware from Target.  
- Dining table from Ikea.
- Dining chairs from Ikea.
- Double Dot Rug from PB Teen
- Buffet shelves from Ballard Designs.
- Yellow leopard slip covers (Premier Prints fabric in corn) with custom Number Four Eleven monogram, sewn my Mother and myself.  Somewhat of a "tutorial" coming soon!
- Drapes sewn my me (Premier Prints fabric).  Black rods and rings from Target.
- Georgia Tech football programs collected by moi as a gift to Honey many Christmases ago.

And, should you want to peruse the unabridged edition of ALL the titillating details for this entire project, look here for the vision, here for a eight month update, here for the bar reveal, here for the finally finished banquette and here for the den. Last but not least will be the stairway!!

Lastly, a quick pic of the littles racing around the basement on a baby toy.  As promised during my picture taking session, I've got to get them outside for lunch and some slip n slide fun!  After all, it's SUMMERTIME!!!


Sunday Supper {Southwest Soup}

First things first... I want to wholeheartedly welcome all of my new readers to this little blog.  All of your kind comments have sincerely touched my heart and absolutely made me smile!  What an adventure!!

Sunday Supper is a (mostly) weekly tradition around here.  I make a yummy meal, not necessarily fancy, and we eat in the dining room off of good china, use the silver, practice our manners, have John lead prayer, and just enjoy each other's company.

That being said, I must share that I've been drooling over the Le Creuset cast iron dutch oven at Williams Sonoma for ages.  However, at a price tag of multiple hundreds of dollars, it just was not meant to be mine.  Well, you know how they say good things come to those who wait??  I stumbled upon Martha Stewart's version, in white to match my kitchen,  marked down to $19.99 and I and literally ran to the register with it!  Since then I've been on the lookout for all sorts of recipes to make in my newest piece of cookware.

So, for this week's Sunday Supper, Mother and I whipped up this delish and nutrish soup for the whole family.  And it was a smashing success (even in the ninety degree weather)!

Southwestern Soup
1 lb ground beef
1 c coarsely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 16oz cans light red kidney beans, rinse and drain
1 15 oz can black beans, rinse and drain
2 cans diced tomatoes and mild green chiles, undrained
1 can beef broth
1 cups frozen yellow and white whole kernel corn
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
Toppings: cilantro, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, diced avocado

1. Brown beef, onion and garlic in large dutch oven until meat crumbles and onion is softened; drain if needed.
2. Stir in kidney beans and next eight ingredients, and 4 cups of water.  Bring to a boil over med-high heat.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Stir in cilantro just before serving.  Serve with desired toppings.
Bon appetit, y'all!



Y'all, I just have to share what I find to be the most darling of all of the extracurriculars the PCP has dabbled in - TENNIS!  Now, don't get me wrong, the baseball uniforms are totally presh, and seeing him on the field with Honey just melts my heart, but it does like to give me a heart attack each and every time that ball comes hurtling towards the PCP's sweet face / shoulder / head / back / newly healed chin / insert body part here.  And, while swimming is certainly a necessary skill, the sweltering heat in that indoor pool makes me feel like the wicked witch and that infamous bucket of water.  As far as soccer, hmmm... I'm thinking.... well, I just can't find anything kind in my cold black heart to say about that sport just now... think Saturday mornings in July, running around in a bug filled bog for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Yeah, see the problem(s) there?!?!

So back to the sport at hand... TENNIS!  Not only is the required preppy attire right up my ally and just as sweet as can be on the PCP, but I can't see how one could possibly suffer any sort of life threatening injury playing this sport.  (If you know otherwise, don't enlighten me.)  And the club has a perfect little viewing veranda, complete with ice cold water, ceiling fans and comfy chairs, to wait out the hour.  I know nothing about tennis, but from my novice eye, it seemed that the PCP showed some promise.  And all talent aside, he had the time of his life.  As we say around these parts, if you had FUN, you WON!
At the end of his lesson, Coach C invited Cookie, who spent the hour clutched to the fence, intently studying the goings-ons on the court, to come in and help retrieve balls.  That sweet baby was on could nine.  And when Coach C had him partake in the last water break, you'd have thought he died and went to heaven.

All in all, I'd say that the tennis thing went much better this second time around.  You see, I tried out the sport myself oh, about eleven years ago, for oh, about a week or two.  I had a cute coach (this was before marriage gals), a darling outfit and sweet shoes, but seriously, I had no IDEA tennis required running, sweating and chasing a ball.  Three of my most dreaded past times.

Can't wait to hit the courts tomorrow.  (Don't I sound seasoned already?!)


I Love {Swan Coach House}

I love everything about the Swan House, from the restaurant and boutique to the books and cookbooks.  If you're not already, let yourself be captivated by all things Swan...

The Swan Coach House
Ask any Atlanta gal to name one so-Southern ladies lunching, brunching, showering and sip-and-seeing spot and I'd bet my bottom dollar that she replies "Swan Coach House."  Once an old garage near the 1920's Swan House mansion, this quintessential locale is renowned for delicate dining, splendid shopping and expositions of fine art from Southern hands.
With Mother in town for a spell, Sister and I treated her to a belated Mother's Day lunch at the Swan Coach House.  While we favor the downstairs dining room where Sister hosted Cookie's sip-and-see a few years back (it's less crowded and much airier than the others), we jumped at the chance to dine alfresco on this gorgeous May day.
As always, we dined on the requisite "Swan's Favorite", a cold plate featuring the restaurant's signature chicken salad served in hand-made heart shaped timbales, creamy frozen fruit salad and cheese straws, we drank the Swan Coach House Punch, and we finished with the French Silk Swan, a confection comprised of meringue, chocolate mousse and Chantilly cream.  And, as always, we swooned over each and every bite and savored each and every minute of our ladies only luncheon.

The Swan House Mansion
Located in the heart of Buckhead, the elegant Swan House mansion was built in 1928 and is known as one of Atlanta's most recognized landmarks.   Now part of the Atlanta History Center, tours of the house and grounds allow visitors to explore parts of the restored historic mansion.  I can only imagine living in such a place.  Nothing gets me all aflutter like an old home, hinting of the stories and history of those that came before me.

The Swan House Novel
This powerful, coming of age historical fiction novel was inspired by the Swan House and tells the story of a girl in 1960s Atlanta, struggling with personal grief and faith in the midst of the South's racial discord.  The author, Elizabeth Musser, tells a nostalgically raw and utterly captivating story, teeming with believable characters and signs of the times, in a way that only native Atlantan could master. Southerner or not, this is a can't put it down read.  In fact, after writing this I trotted straight to my guest room to retrieve the book as my first (re)read of the summer!

The Swan's Palette 
Mother ran across this gem of a cookbook in a Vinings antique store eleven years ago while chatting with a member of the Forward Arts Foundation and she quickly snapped up three copies for her and her girls.  Not only is the cover just gorg, but the cookbook is resplendent with delectable Southern bites and perfectly poised menu suggestions for occasions ranging from Dinner at Chastain Park to a Summer Luau.  My favorites include Cranberry Glazed Brie for a Christmas Eve appetizer, Stuffed Red Peppers for a light summer supper and Cornucopia Salad for an impressive first course to any meal. 
I think our next Sunday Supper will be coming from straight from the glossy pages of you know where!

Until then,
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